Policy timetable for moving to green economy

8th August 2011

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  • Natural resources ,
  • Management ,
  • Waste ,
  • Procurement



The UK government has published an overview of how it plans to support the transition to a green economy. It includes a timetable of current and pending policy and suggested actions for businesses.

Enabling the transition to a green economy, published jointly by DECC, Defra and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, briefly sets out the government’s green policies and illustrates how they fit in its overall push towards a green economy, and the benefits this will bring for businesses.

Areas covered in the 12-page document include the government’s commitment to pushing forward international action on climate change to ensure the UK’s competitiveness, plans to encourage investment in new low-carbon technology through the planned Green Investment Bank, reform of the electricity market, and how it will lead by example through the adoption of sustainable procurement standards.

Created in response to private sector requests for greater clarity, the policy summary also sets out a series of actions businesses could adopt to aid the transition, including becoming increasingly energy and resource efficient, designing greener products and processes, and investing in new infrastructure to support the green economy.

“British businesses hold the key to making a success of the green economy and the coalition wants to do everything it can to dismantle the barriers to making that happen,” says energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne.

“In the end game, British business will be better off from the more stable and secure economy that will come from reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

The document also briefly mentions the need to ensure the UK workforce has the right skills to “help businesses use natural resources efficiently and sustainably”, saying a collaboration of sector skills councils will help businesses to understand changing skills requirements.

While welcoming the publication overall as a useful tool to show businesses how individual government policies will work as a coherent whole, IEMA expressed disappointment that in a document setting out a transition to a greener economy, there isn’t far greater emphasis on greener skills.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s director of policy said: "The skills of the UK workforce are critical in transitioning to a green economy and yet there doesn’t seem to be any firm action on ensuring that all jobs are done in a greener way.

"Business needs to be supported to specify the skills they need to cover environmental and sustainability issues. That’s why IEMA is working directly with companies to understand what they require from their staff and translate these needs into an environmental skills map for the profession."

Alongside the overview, two timelines were published: the first details government policy moving forward, including the introduction of the Renewable Heat Initiative and the publication of the water White Paper later this year; the other gives approximate times for investment in renewable technologies, green infrastructure and tackling waste.


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